Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Managing the Symptoms

photo of a sad woman worring about a lot of things

Anxiety disorders represent the most common form of mental illness – impacting over 40 million Americans. While the root cause is different for everyone, doctors believe that it’s triggered by a combination of things including stress, personality traits and some people are simply genetically predisposed to the condition. And, it is worth mentioning that repeated abuse of drugs and alcohol can trigger the onset of anxiety disorders too as the result of a brain chemistry imbalance.

Anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of ways including irritability, racing thoughts, fatigue, insomnia and panic attacks – which can be the most debilitating symptom.

If you do periodically experience panic attacks, it’s important to talk to your addiction recovery team. They may recommend tweaking your plan of care or refer you to a specialist. You can also empower yourself! By learning how to mitigate the symptoms, you can reduce your risk of self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to cope.

Strategies for Managing Panic

(1) Educate yourself on the science behind anxiety.

Ask your physician or therapist to help you better understand the biological and neurological underpinnings of anxiety. By understanding the triggers of anxiety and how your mind and body are reacting during episodes of panic, you can feel more empowered and in control.

(2) Learn relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.

The next time you start to experience a panic attack, try to focus on the rhythm of your breath. Take a deep breath through your nose while counting to five, pause, and slowly exhale at the same rate. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes. (And, one huge benefit of this technique is that it’s portable.)

(3) Give your mind something else to do.

Forcing your brain to work (on something other than worrying) can dilute the episode of panic. Try counting backward from 100, work a crossword puzzle or read a book for a few minutes until the feelings subside.

Dual-Diagnosis Specialists

Our addiction specialists have helped many men find sobriety while also getting help for a co-occurring behavioral health issue like anxiety or depression. At 10 Acre Ranch, our highly-trained staff works with male clients to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses mental health along with substance use disorders to reduce symptoms and to increase the likelihood of long-term recovery. To learn more, call today: (877) 228-4679.